adam j scarborough

500 Pennies

(Performance and contract, Tramway Glasgow 2012)

£5 budget. 500 pennies. Each penny with a different past. All with a different direction. The performance was an opportunity to pause and reflect on giving and receiving.

500 pennies were laid out on the table. Each one with a small sticker on it (face down) with a number.

Performance took place as a discussion based on the nature of giving and receiving, value and worth. During the 5 minutes, the pair learned from each other the most they ever paid on a gift; the best gift they ever received; the best gift they ever gave.

It became clear during the discussion that economic value was distinct from perceived worth – and this was emphasised in the second part of the performance: each of the 500 pennies on the table was numbered, and each number corresponded to a unique task. The pair agreed to complete the selected task a set number of times based on the perceived value of the exchange between performer and participant; after signing a contract each agreed to email the other when the task was completed.

32 contracts signed.

31 contracts completed by the artist (1 still ongoing); 24 contracts completed by participants.


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